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Tribune Broadcasting Forms New Studio; Hires New Head Of WGN America

Chicago-based (for now) Tribune Broadcasting has formed a new company to create and develop original content, named Tribune Studios. Additionally, Tribune Broadcasting today announced the hiring of Matt Cherniss to serve as President & General Manager of both the new Tribune Studios, as well as the the company's cable/satellite superstation, WGN America.

Tribune Studios -- not to confused with the physical Hollywood studio lot of the same name, which Tribune Company sold off in 2008 for $125 million -- will be based in Los Angeles. It's purpose will be to develop new and original programming for WGN America, along with the local television stations Tribune Broadcasting owns, including Chicago's WGN-TV.

Matt Cherniss' duties will be to oversee the creation of new programming, and be responsible for the overall strategy, execution, and day-to-day operations of the new studios and the superstation. Cherniss, who will slowly transition to his new roles over the next few weeks, will report directly to new Tribune Company CEO Peter Liguori. This hire reunites Liguori and Cherniss, who worked together successfully at the cable network FX. He will be based in Los Angeles, where Tribune Broadcasting is slowly establishing itself and may eventually move most of its operations away from Chicago.

In a statement today, Peter Liguori said: "Matt is known within the creative community for his incredible eye for high-quality, commercial programming, as well as his integrity as a partner and a programmer. WGN America and our 23 local stations reach 80 percent of the country and provide a powerful marketing and distribution platform, creating value for programmers, advertisers, and most important, audiences. Tribune Studios will enable us to participate in the value this platform delivers by developing original content that we own or co-own."

Cherniss, 40, comes to Tribune Company from Warner Bros., where he has been the Senior Vice President of Production since 2011. Prior to his time with WB, Cherniss spent most of his executive television career with FOX Broadcasting Company and FX, where he was most recently the Executive Vice President of Programming. Many of the biggest original shows currently on both FOX and FX, Cherniss had a hand in getting on the air.

Said Matt Cherniss today: "Tribune has one of the largest station groups in the country, a growing presence in WGN America, and the resources to create and develop top-flight original content. Through WGN America and Tribune Studios we will be looking to attract the most innovative and imaginative creators in the business, as we make a commitment to unique and distinctive programming."

In related WGN America news, Julio Marenghi, who has been the Executive Vice President & General Manager for WGN America since March 2011, and with the network in upper executive roles since 2009, now becomes its new President of Broadcast Media Sales for Tribune Broadcasting. Julio Marenghi's new role is effective immediately. Based in New York, Marenghi will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of advertising sales for the company-owned local television stations and its one radio station, Chicago's WGN-AM. Marenghi will report to Larry Wert, Tribune Broadcasting's President of Local Broadcasting, who officially started his new job last week.

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